Moving 9&10 News: A New Era Part Two
*This is part two of a two-part special report. You can check out part one here.
After 63 years broadcasting from a remote hilltop in Osceola County, Heritage Broadcasting and 9&10 News recently moved to Cadillac into a highly recognizable building.
As you’ll see in part two of Moving 9&10 News: A New Era, it has been an ambitious project.
“The move is long overdue,” says John McGowan. “And this is a beautiful facility.”
A new era for 9&10 News began with the purchase of an iconic building in Cadillac in June, 2016.
“That was originally built by Kysor, when Ray Weigle was still CEO of that company. In the late 70s or early 80s, they went on an international basis and that was their international corporate headquarters. I think Ray was interested in making a nice statement for Cadillac and chose that site which is very, very visible and built a very impressive building,” explains Pete Stalker, Cadillac city manager from 1995-2009.
General contractor Ken Orshal says, “Then, Wilcox Engineering took over the building and was here for a time, then they left, and the building’s been vacant since they left six or eight years ago.”
It’s a majestic and welcoming sight for those driving up US 131.
“It’s like the White House of Northern Michigan. Like the Taj Mahal. Even people down south, Grand Rapids, Detroit, know this building. So now they’re going to know this building is where 9&10 is. That’s phenomenal,” says Sean Mahon, 9&10 news director.
Stalker says, “When we heard that you folks were interested in it, it was like that is perfect. Just a perfect fit. So, personally, very excited about seeing it re-used and it’ll become the showcased interest to the community that it once was.”
But a lot of work needed to be done to update the marble masterpiece. Not to mention, retrofit it to house two television stations.
“The inside looked like it was 35 years old. It hadn’t been occupied. Surely it wasn’t air conditioned in the summertime, so the paint, the wallpaper things like that are affected for that issue,” explains Orshal.
Mahon adds, “This building was gutted from the ground up. The outside looks the same, but the inside is different.”
With months of work what was dark paneling and outdated fixtures was transformed into a bright, colorful office space, with nods to Northern Michigan’s natural beauty, agricultural heritage and modern, energy efficient touches throughout.
“It’s probably the largest remodel we’ve ever been involved in. It’s a huge building,” says Orshal. “Heritage Broadcasting came up with a new floor plan of how they wanted the space to look. So we removed offices, conference rooms, walls, ceilings. We opened the ceilings up.”
McGowan says, “They’ve done some remarkable stuff, just getting everybody over here.”
A smooth transition, moving a broadcasting operation several miles seamlessly, took an incredible amount of planning. Chief engineer Lowell Shore hadn’t had to build a station practically from scratch since the 1961 fire.
“There were people working 24 hours. But it got done and we got on the air, and people at home I don’t think would’ve ever know that we moved and everything worked so, we did it,” explains Shore.
An impressive new headquarters, on a newly named Broadcast Way, but what does it mean for our loyal Northern Michigan viewers? It turns out, a lot.
“It’s such a great place for us to be in our community, and to be able to welcome the community into our building,” says Renee Mahon, 9&10 marketing and promotions director.
Stalker says, “It’s my understanding there could be some community events located at that facility over time, what a great location for that. It’s very visible. There’s a lot of space there. I think it’s a nice reflection on the station’s willingness to open up that facility for other uses beyond their current business use, again a good reflection on the pride and quality of character we’re bringing to this community.”
While the studio set remains the same, there’s a new environment for news gathering.
“We have great people here. We have great stories, and with the new environment and all the things that come about with the new building, I hope that translates into telling better stories. I want them to notice we have a new spirit about us,” says Mahon.
A new era for Northern Michigan’s News Leader and a chance to renew our dedication to all of you.
“It’s going to be a great place to bring news to Northern Michigan. We want them to be excited for us because we’re going to try to bring them a better news product, better news content. So this is all new for Northern Michigan, not just us.”
There’s another way we are more visible in the community. We can change the color of our lighting at night.
Right now we are all red and pink for Valentine’s Day, but as you drive north on US 131, keep an eye out for changes with the seasons and holidays. Even special causes we’re bringing attention to with the color of our building.
We hope you enjoy watching this and watching us for another 63 years.